Committed was most definitely the theme for the Foundation Ironman athletes this year. Committed to giving their best and appreciating the experience for what it teaches them. It was an honor coaching these athletes through their main goal and I'm extremely grateful that they appreciate these major goals as part of a bigger picture on their journeys. Whether this was one and done and it was a tool to elevate their self-confidence for other life moments or if this was a stepping stone to progressive athletic endeavors, each of the Foundation athletes proved that they are capable of meeting their goals simply by their willingness to never give up!
To all my athletes, THANK YOU! Thank you for the opportunity to consistently be part of your lives. I’m honored to not only get to know you, but also your close family and friends. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to help you no matter where your life journey takes you next.
Caryn: I’m pretty sure if you look up the word determination in the dictionary you will see a picture of Caryn. IMAZ 2017 was a heart breaking day for Caryn as she did not cross the finish line at IMAZ after a 2 year training cycle to get her to the starting line. Despite the devastation, without hesitation Caryn signed up for IMAZ 2018. She wanted her dream and she was willing to put in the necessary work to get it.
Adding insult to injury, life threw Caryn and her family a few curveballs early on in 2018 for which she had every right to give in to her dream and rack her bike for a year. But, because of her incredible family support and once again, incredible determination and work ethic, she kept at it. She was dedicated to strength building and working on the necessary things to help her reach her goal. She did everything she could to make sure she wasn’t sacrificing her dream.
Come race day, there was no doubt in my mind that she was going to reach her goal this year. She proved over and over again in her workouts that she was ready. The moment that I saw Caryn’s smiling face starting the first mile on the run, my heart was happier that I could ever imagine for her. Knowing that was going to reach her goal after such a long, long road was such an incredible feeling.
Then, seeing her as she turned the corner towards the finishers shoot, I couldn’t help shed tears of happiness for her. You are an incredible inspiration for all of us to never, ever give up on our dreams. Congratulations, Caryn!
Andrea: Andrea walked away with a ONE HOUR and TWELVE minute PR at IMAZ this year! This lady is a force to be reckoned with! If you put anything in front of her she will accomplish it without question.
Andrea completed her first Ironman in 2017 and unfortunately that was a very challenging day for her. After reflection on her first Ironman, I know she was proud of her accomplishment, but she was not satisfied so, she signed up for round two. This past year, Andrea chose to keep her race schedule to a minimum, and that turned out be a blessing with how busy her year turned out to be.
In May she came on board as a Foundation Coach and has exceeded all expectations in her coaching skills, during the months of June-September she was a major coordinator and driving force in the Women For Tri Intro To Tri Training Program our Team hosted, and then over the summer she switched careers during the height of her Ironman training and still managed to do a hell of a job as a parent.
This training cycle she put an enormous emphasis on her bike fitness and solid emphasis on her run fitness and it paid off. Because of her hard work, Andrea crossed the finish line at IMAZ this year with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her face. It made my heart so happy to see her elation for accomplishing something she’s worked so hard for.
Congratulations, Andrea! I can’t wait to see where your 2019 season takes you.
Monica: Monica accomplished a 23 minute PR at IMAZ after one heck of a challenging year. Monica’s year started off with a bang with several PR’s at the marathon, Olympic, and Half Ironman distances. It seemed as though she was unstoppable! But life always has a way of making us really discover who we are and Monica was given a few challenging races that made her question as to whether she wanted to follow through with IMAZ. I’m so glad she continued on with her original goal because there’s no doubt that her accomplishment at IMAZ is a true testament to who she really is and what she is capable of. She’s a true fighter and she will get her ultimate goal one day, I know it! For now, Monica, as you slowly chip away at that goal, I’m constantly impressed with your poise, determination, and grit. It’s an absolute pleasure watching you accomplish great things. Congratulations!
Steve: At the young age of 65, Steve completed his FIRST Ironman! Just three years prior Steve began his triathlon journey. He was smart and calculated with his journey to the Ironman distance and always respected his health and limits related to work and family obligations. The progression was so gradual that the leap into the Ironman distance did not feel like too much of a stretch for him. Despite a busy travel schedule for work, often traveling T-Th every week, he managed to accomplish almost every workout on his schedule. He was blessed to have incredible family support along the way too.
The night before IMAZ, Steve said to me that he felt great and that he was excited to take on the day for him and that no matter what happened he would be happy. Because of his attitude leading into race day, I knew Steve was going to have a great day. He set himself up for accomplishment because he took the pressure off of himself.
I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a Ironman race finish experience more memorable and moving than Steve’s. Steve was approaching the last mile of the run when he had just under 15 minutes before the cut off time. As we (several of his Foundation Teammates and myself) saw him approaching the curve on Rio Salado towards the last 200 meters to the finish, I saw pure elation, grit and determination on his face. He was pensive and pushing the pace to meet his goal. As we were cheering I saw tears streaming down his face which in turn brought big tears to my eyes too. He was going to accomplish something he had worked towards for 3 years. What a magical moment to witness!
Steve, you are an example for all of us! There is absolutely no limit to what we can do and you proved that many times over. Congratulations, Ironman Steve!
Rob: My nickname for Rob, which he doesn’t even know, is “Mr. Diamond In The Rough.” Just a few years ago he struggled to complete his first marathon due to chronic injuries. He work very hard to work on his limiters and once his injuries cleared up, he successfully completed his first marathon and then transitioned into the triathlon world.
From there he quickly found out that he was made to be a triathlete. He went on in short time to complete his first 70.3 and then IMAZ 2017. He exceed all expectations at IMAZ 2017 and walked away with a dream finish scenario.
With the lure of a good friend signing up for IMAZ 2018, Rob followed suit. Rob’s 2018 training cycle was a little different than 2017. Work pulled him in unforeseen directions this year, which left for more missed and shortened workouts than he would have liked. However, despite the decrease in training volume this year, the cool-cat that Rob is, he had no reservations about race day and went into the race with no expectations but to have fun. Although, I’m not sure he would classify the day as the most fun he’s ever had, he can take pride in the fact that he certainly gave his best on race day and managed an incredible finish time despite his year. Congratulations, Rob!
Ashley: She may be little, but damn she’s mighty! She set-up her year in epic fashion: Oceanside 70.3, IM Wisconsin, and then IM Arizona.
Living in Nebraska makes for challenging times with managing her training. With the unpredictability of the weather, workouts are often rescheduled, shortened, changed and sometimes missed. But despite the challenges, Ashley, had many highs early in the year: a fantastic race at Oceanside and a spectacular half marathon in May.
The warmer weather in the summer time then allowed for Ashley to spend more time outside training which also allowed her more opportunities to meet up with friends to train too, which she discovered has a major influence in her enjoyment of participating in endurance sports.
At Ironman Wisconsin she managed a great swim and a spectacular bike, but unfortunately due to sprained ankle she suffered when she dropped her chain on the bike, she made the smart decision to discontinue her race so that she could heal and be ready to tackle the last few weeks of training leading in IMAZ.
She healed quickly and resumed her training, but with weather challenges again her training was less than ideal. However, she showed up on race day ready and excited to give it her best shot. Every moment I saw her on the IMAZ course she was smiling and she even blew me a kiss at mile 13 mile on the run. Then, I knew then she was he was having run and enjoying the day.
The day ended up to be a great wrap-up of her year. She started strong and finished strong and what more can you ask for. Congratulations, Ashley! Enjoy your well deserved respite from organized training.
Stacie: Stacie’s triathlon journey began 3 years ago after an extensive career as an endurance runner. Her progression into the sport of triathlon was not without a few health struggles at first that she quickly took ownership of and after resolving those issues she has been unstoppable.
She has an insatiable drive to discover her abilities and it was very exciting to hear that she was interested in signing up for her first Ironman after witnessing her training partners accomplish the same feat the year before.
The incredible thing about Stacie is that not only is she is driven to challenge her abilities she is also very inquisitive and curious. During her Ironman journey she wanted to learn, she wasn’t satisfied with just completing her workouts on a daily basis. As a coach, I LOVE this. There’s nothing better than working with an athlete that wants to be discover everything she can to make her efforts more efficient and fruitful.
As a busy mom of two young children, who also works full time, it took nothing short of a miracle for her and her family to make it all happen. Thankfully due to her incredible family support and her due diligence throughout her training, she arrived to the starting line happy, healthy, and ready for her life to be changed simply by participating the biggest race of her lifetime.
I’m sure I missed some of the dark moments on her race day, but every time I saw her she was smiling and appeared to be taking it all in. It was absolutely incredible to witness her running down the finishers shoot and her name called by Mike Reilly. You are an Ironman, Stacey, and you earned every darn moment of your day. Congratulations!!
Paul: There’s one thing I can always count on with Paul he will give everything you put in front of him 110%. He is never afraid of doing the work and he has the physical prowess to reach any goal put before him. However, over the last several months of working with, Paul, we’ve discovered that it’s really the little things that matter the most to his performance. We’ve worked on figuring out the best hydration and nutrition strategies for Paul to allow him to sustain energy and maintain his abilities throughout each long workout and race.
Going into Ironman Cozumel, his metric output showed that he was primed for a great race day and he had a solid hydration and nutrition plan laid out. He was ready.
Come race day, we could not have predicted that he would end up swallowing so much water during the swim that this would set him up for such a challenging day due to extreme dehydration. Despite Paul’s challenges for the day, he never gave up and gave everything he had left for the remainder of race day. He crossed the finish line and can hold his head high knowing that he persisted, he is now a 2 x Ironman! Congratulations, Paul!
I couldn’t be more proud of you Paul for all that you put into your training and your perseverance on race day. We’ve both learned so much about this experience that will have an immense impact on your training going forward and I can’t wait to see what your 2019 race season has in store for you.
Danelle: Congratulations to Coach Danelle who fought through very challenging conditions at IMAZ to finish what she started. Your perseverance is a testament to your values and we (your Teammates and I) couldn’t be more proud of you for finishing what you started. We have no doubt you will achieve your dream and we will continue to root for you and support you every step of the way.
Merriam: Congratulations for accomplishing your first Ironman, Merriam! Your work ethic, your strength, and your persistent determination is consistently inspiring. Looking forward to seeing where your hard work takes over the next few years.
Thank you to ALL the Foundation Teammates and family/friends of Foundation Team members that came out to cheer on race day and stopped by the Foundation tent to say hi. It was great to spend time with all of you!